Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On Legislating Morality

The UOJ Archives - May 26, 2008

"I am not a pessimist. To perceive evil where it exists is, in my opinion, a form of optimism!"

Roberto Rossellini

A well-intentioned rabbi calls a gathering, and emotionally lays out the pitfalls of the great technological advances of our time. Story after probably true story, of heartbreak and more devastation. So many families falling victim to the Internet, text messaging, cell phones...and that sly yetzer ha'ra.

I have no reason to doubt the veracity of those stories; but I wonder if the Internet has done any good; were any lives saved by cell phones and text messaging?

Is not Hatzalah run almost entirely by this latest work of Satan? How much Torah was learned through Hashem's creation of man, that was responsible for the genius of the Internet -- being able to be used for so much good. What about the automobile? I am informed that many European rabbonim labeled it "maaseh Satan" or the work of the devil - especially, because that notorious Jew-hater, Henry Ford was so instrumental in bringing it to market. Automobiles kill more people annually than all of the cancers combined!

How about the radio - today? There are Jewish hamlets that forbid it in any Jewish home! Oh, those newspapers - just another form of secular infiltration of the Jewish household.

So this rabbi has a solution; the wife should be the keeper of the computer password - preventing the husband and the kids from getting online unmonitored!

What I call genius!!!

Let's go back only a bit in time, when the parents took sole responsibilty for the moral education of their children. They would hopefully send their children to the appropriate schools that would mirror their family values. They would be responsible for the emotional well-being of their kids; not the least being who their childrens' friends were.

Enter Maria or Guadalupe!

Parents are busy socializing and remodeling their homes - just because they can! Kids are dressed in the latest fashions - for no good reason other than to outdo the Moskowitzs. It is the parents that need appropriate value lessons - their teachings, especially the "yeshiva boys", has not included ahavat Hashem through shmirat hamitzvos v'taavot. They were brought up with respect for the almighty dollar. Who are their children to learn from? Parents are off to Atlantic City and Las Vegas --- and brag about it at davening (not everything that happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas)..... "Kids - stay off the Internet, it could be bad for you."

And getting back to one of my favorite themes --- guests of honor at yeshiva, shul and Jewish organization functions.

An organization has recently honored a family of "vadei mamzerus!"

Bubby --- after the war "married" a man because she had not heard from her first husband for two years post the war. They had a child! Shortly after the child was born, hubby number one shows up. Beis din convened and ordered her to leave "husband number two", since she was an eishes ish and did not have two witnesses testify in beis din that hubby number one was in fact dead. Her second marriage was null and void!

She refused! She liked the second guy better and told hubby number one to get lost. Beis din ruled the child of that union - a mamzer...and pleaded with hubby number one, for the sake of the future children of this woman, to divorce his wife.

He ultimately divorced the woman, and the many subsequent children do not carry the stigma of mamzerus. But she did not have another "kiddushin", even though the halacha is clear; when she married hubby number two, the kiddushin was not tofes or chal, because she was married to the first guy, rendering her offspring pogem, - (spiritually defective - born out of wedlock ) - albeit not illegitimate or bastards. But the first child, although no fault of hers, is a mamzer(et), and was only permitted to marry someone from the same unfortunate stigmatized Jewish lineage. Sad, but the halacha is sometimes seemingly unfair. She did not; and as best they could, kept the secret of her spiritually defective Jewish lineage.

But the person honored at the Jewish organization dinner knew that he married a mamzeret. The organization and the rabbi at it's head knew, the entire community knew - AND NOBODY SAID BOO!

His kids are mamzerim - vadei mamzeirim - and if the money remains in the family - they probably will be honored at future Orthodox Jewish dinners as well.

Yes, cellphones and the Internet can be misused, but they are NOT the danger that mamzerus can cause to the sanctity of Klal Yisroel. In matter of fact, Kiddushin - holiness through appropriate marriage - k'das Moshe v'Yisroel, is the bedrock of Yiddishkeit. And now we're trading that very foundation of Klal Yisroel - for a few bucks, full tables, and journal ads.

Back to the Internet and cell phones. Rabbis --- you have lost all the moral authority once vested in you - nobody gives a damn what you have to say. The children (and few thinking adults) see through this facade --- what you're doing is creating additional very good reasons for the children to say to you - you're full of it, and we want nothing to do with your brand of hypocrisy!

Address the real issues - in an honest manner - or there will not be any Orthodox Jewish kids left to text message the announcements of your bogus asifas and exaggerated maaselach!